According to a study conducted by NASA, a strong hurricane can contain as much power as 10,000 nuclear bombs during its lifespan. Judging by the lack of attendance at Gulfport’s Hurricane Seminar May 27, residents may need a refresher on just how serious our storms can be.
Beginning June 1 and extending through November 30, this hurricane season is predicted to be an active one. During the May 27 virtual presentation at 6 p.m. at the Catherine Hickman Theater, Meteorologist Daniel Noah said between 13 and 20 named storms are expected in 2021. Of those, between six and 10 are predicted to be hurricanes, and three to five are slated to be major hurricanes.
The barrier islands of the Tampa Bay area and Southwest Florida top the list as some of the most difficult locations to evacuate during a hurricane.
But when you get off the island, where do you go?
Noah suggests if you are going to evacuate, stay in a safe place closer to home, like a local shelter, rather than taking a long road trip to avoid being stuck in a car when the storm hits.
Noah also stressed that preparing for the aftermath of a hurricane is as important as preparing for the storm itself.
“Avoid floods at all costs,” Noah said, noting that floods – even after a storm has passed – are the second leading cause of death in a storm. But beyond personal safety, residents should also prepare for flooding by talking to their insurance providers now about the extent of their home’s coverage.
This is also the time to stock up on all of your hurricane supplies, said Noah, which the State of Florida helps make a little easier with the disaster prep sales tax holiday through June 6. For more information on qualified items, and a full list of what to have for your hurricane prep, visit floridadisaster.org/planprepare.
Find county-specific information and detailed resources for all things hurricane at pinellascounty.org/emergency. Download the county’s Hurricane Preparedness Guide there, or find a hard copy at any public library or local city hall.